Monday, October 7, 2013

Kochi Castle!!!!!/高知城ぜよ!!!!!/高知城!!!!!!

Now, for the best part of any trip to anywhere: the castle!
Kochi City has a castle in it that at first glance is not particularly special.  It's not particularly large, nor is the hill it's on particularly high.  What makes it special is that it is one of the best preserved castles in Japan.  Japanese castles, like most Japanese architecture, use a lot of wood, so they're prone to fires.  Also, Japan is a country that suffers from earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and 20th century world wars, so most of the castles in Japan have been partially or fully reconstructed at some point in the 20th century.  Kochi Castle however, retains ALL of its Edo-period structures in the castle's central section.  I do have to be honest here though, the castle was totally destroyed by fire once--in 1727--so, ok, sure, it's ONLY 300 years old.  Sorry.


A statue of Yodo Yamauchi, the 15th lord of Tosa, and a reform-minded (for the time) lord who was influenced by Ryoma Sakamoto and Shojiro Goto, and subsequently advocated for restoration of imperial rule.  (As opposed to the rule of the Shogun, which was the case at the time.)


In the library next to the castle were some clothes designed by local high school students for a contest.  This dress takes the theme of fish since Kochi faces the Pacific and has a major fishing industry.


Hipster kimono

Here's the main entrance to the castle grounds.


Look at this gate!

Here's a statue of Taisuke Itagaki.  Yet another Kochi-born rabble-rouser, he was active in the people's rights movement in Meiji-era Japan.  He also had a totally metal response to being stabbed, which you should definitely read about in the photo of the sign about him below.


An old well?

Kochi gets a lot of rain, and especially when a typhoon comes, it gets it all at once.  As such, the castle was constructed with water drainage in mind.  One of the tools used is these drains, which stick way out from the wall so that the draining water doesn't pour down the wall and cause it to fall apart.


This is a statue of the wife of one of the lord's of Tosa.  I can't remember her name, nor can I find it in the pamphlet about the castle I took home with me.  She was known for being a major power behind the lord, and there was a popular TV historical drama about her a couple years back.


Another feature of the castle related to water drainage is the stonework.  The method used is one where small stones are stacked in the spaces between the big stones.  There is lots of space, and this makes the structure better able to handle heavy water flow.


Ok, the Kochi tourism office needs to get on this vendor's case.  I have no problem with people selling stuff on the castle grounds, but could this stand possibly clash with the castle any more than this?  It's like she's trying to be offensively loud.


The main tower.  Admittedly, it's not as tall as some other castle towers in Japan, but it also looks even shorter here because we're already up on the raised courtyard around this tower.  We're up pretty high at this point.


Traditional Japanese architecture always has cool woodwork over the doorways.
It's nice that you're trying to motivate everyone to work, but maybe you could do that while NOT standing on the thing everyone is trying to pull.

Whaling operation
This is all 18th century wood here!  We're almost to the top of the main tower.

More whaling

A legitimately old castle.  Pretty cool, huh?  When your blood-pressure has settled, be sure to get busy clicking reload over and over again while you wait for my next post, wherein we visit the western part of Kochi Prefecture.



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